Tag Archives: pH Balance

Getting To Know Your Hair–Understanding Porosity


Porosity is the ability of the hair to absorb water and other matter (like chemicals).

In the post ‘Balancing Moisture & Protein’, i gave a brief summery of what hair is. The outer layer of the hair, the Cuticle, is made up of several layers of interlocking scales and is responsible for how porous the hair is.

Different Degrees of Porosity

Low Porosity

Low or poor porosity is characterised by very tightly closed cuticles and is generally considered healthy as all or most of the cuticle layer is intact. It doesn’t easily absorb water and resists the penetration of chemical treatments.

Average/Normal Porosity

Normal Porosity is hair that is able to absorb water well but resists permitting too much water to penetrate. This is considered the best porosity to have. Again, all or most of the cuticle layer is in tact and lies down flatly. Hair with normal porosity can hold styles well and receives chemical processing well. Although chemical processes can change the porosity of the hair from average to high.

High Porosity

Highly porous hair is hair that has sustained cuticle damage with lifted, missing, cracked or chipped cuticles. It absorbs significantly higher amounts of water then normal or low porosity hair (up to 55%, in contrast with 31.1% for healthy hair) and is not capable of holding onto that water as the damaged cuticles allow water out just as fast. This type of hair never feels properly moisturised even with constant moisturising. When hair is fully soaked in water, the weight of the excessively absorbed water can lead to significant breakage due to loss of elasticity. Highly porous hair easily accepts chemical treatments such as dyes, but wont hold onto the colour for very long and is easily over processed as it takes significantly less time than low or average porosity types to receive the chemicals. Highly porous hair doesn’t hold onto styles as well as normal or low porosity types.

Uneven Porosity

Uneven porosity is a combination of low or average porosity and high porosity and is common in long hair. The longer your hair is, the older it is and the more it has been exposed to mechanical, chemical, environmental and heat damage. Uneven porosity has spotty issues where some parts of your hair hold onto moisture well and some parts (such as the ends) do not.

What Causes Highly Porous Hair? 

Genetics does have a part to play with how porous the hair is. Naturally curly hair is more porous than straight hair by nature. Every kink and bend along the shaft where the hair naturally curls or kinks stops the cuticles from lying down flatly and so the cuticles remain slightly raised along these points. The curlier or kinkier your hair is the more porous it is. Other determining factors are mechanical damage caused by rough handling, dry combing/brushing, friction caused by towel drying, scarfs, hair bands and hats, chemicals such as permanent dyes, relaxers, texturisers and perms, heat damage from tools such as blow-dryers, flat irons and curling tongs as well as over exposure to environmental factors such as UV rays and harsh winds. Strong sulfate shampoos, such as sodium lauryl sulfate, are capable of dissolving the fatty acid layer beneath the cuticle (called the Cell Membrane Complex or CMC, the ‘cement’ that keeps the cuticles in place), which can lead to irreparable gaps in the cuticle layer. Natural soaps, being very alkaline in nature, causes the hair to swell and the cuticle to lift up away from the surface of the hair shaft, penetrating through the cuticle and into the CMC where it can bind with the fatty acid layer and rinse it away, again causing gaps within the cuticles. All these different factors can permanently alter, raise and/or damage the cuticle layer causing highly porous hair.

Porosity Tests

It is best test for porosity on freshly cleaned and dried hair.

Test OneThe Finger Touch Test

Gently hold a few strands of hair with one hand. With the other, run your fingers up the length of your hair, from tip to root. If your hair feels rough with lots of little ridges or bumps (excluding the bumps that are naturally created by the bends in the shaft where the hair curls) then your cuticles are not lying flatly and your hair is porous.

There are some who argue that the first test is not at all effective at determining porosity as the cuticle layers are so microscopically tiny that you can’t possibly feel whether they are raised or not unless the hair has sustained significant damage.

Test Two – The Water Test

Take some shed hair (or pull out a strand of freshly washed and dried hair), a stop watch and a tall glass of water. Drop the hair into the glass and wait for one minute. After the minute has passed check to see whether your hair is floating or has sunk. If your hair is floating ON TOP of the water, than you have low/poor porosity. If your hair is floating JUST UNDER the water, your hair has average porosity. If your hair has SUNK to the bottom of the cup then your hair is highly porous. If part of your hair is FLOATING and part of it is SINKING, you have spotty porosity issues.

Healthy hair should not sink at all or only sink slightly (in one minute that is). The rate that the hair sinks is an indication of how quickly it absorbs (and will lose) moisture. The faster the moisture is absorbed into the hair, the more porous it is. Hair should naturally absorb moisture at a slow pace and should be capable of holding it for long periods of time. If hair absorbs enough moisture within one minute to cause it to sink in water, it is absorbing too fast and indicates high porosity.

Correcting Porosity Issues

After you have determined whether your hair has low, average or high porosity you may be wandering how to correct any issues. Here are some suggestions

Low/Poor Porosity

If you find your hair does not absorb water well than you need to focus on moisture rich products more than protein. Deep conditioning WITH HEAT (a hooded dryer) is highly recommended. The heat will cause the cuticles to open and will allow the much needed moisture to enter into the cortex.

High Porosity

Highly porous hair can be treated in two ways depending on the type of damage caused to the cuticle.

Lifted Cuticles – PH

If your hair is highly porous and you don’t necessarily use chemicals or heat and are generally quite gentle with your strands then it is possible that the cuticles are raised. Rebalancing your hair’s pH may be all that is required to help return your porosity level to normal. Acidic rinses such as Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) rinses are an effective way of bringing the pH of your hair back down to optimal levels, thus closing your cuticles and correcting high porosity. For more on pH and hair click HERE.

Damaged Cuticles – Protein

If your hair is highly porous and you regularly use heat and/or chemicals, brush or comb your hair very roughly and/or without slippery products such as conditioner or you have tried correcting your porosity with pH and it hasn’t really helped, then you have sustained cuticle damage. You may have missing, cracked or chipped cuticles. You cannot permanently repair damaged hair but you can patch it up temporarily with protein treatments. Protein helps to reinforce the hairs structure and can help fill in the gaps where the cuticles are chipped or missing. This creates a complete layer over your cortex that can resist moisture loss, keeping the hair moisturised for longer and will help to correct high porosity. Again heat can and should be used to help create stronger bonds between the protein and your hair so that the protein is not simply washed down the drain but actually remains on your hair after rinsing.

Uneven Porosity

Uneven porosity can be corrected by either or both of the suggestion listed above. Using pH and protein will help fill in or flatten the cuticles in those places that are causing the spotty porosity problems. Product layering can also be very effective where the porosity issues are uneven, such as at the ends. If you have dry ends, then layering more moisture and oil/butter on the ends will help to create a thicker barrier where your hair is most susceptible to moisture loss and will help your hair retain moisture evenly.

The Best Treatment of All

I’m sure you know what i’m about to say. Prevention is better then cure! Reducing those things can cause the hair to sustain damage is the best ‘treatment’ we could possibly administer.

  • Treat your hair gently.
  • Detangle only when your hair is loaded with conditioner to reduce damage caused by friction
  • Avoid chemical treatments as much as possible
  • Avoid the overuse of heat styling tools
  • Avoid harsh sulfate shampoos and alkaline soaps

This brings us to the end of the ‘Getting To Know Your Hair Series’. I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about the different things that can affect the hair and what it takes to keep it healthy. Knowledge is the best tool in any successful hair journey!

If you have any comments, suggestions or questions regarding anything we’ve discussed in this series, feel free to leave them in the comment boxes or email me at


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Getting To Know Your Hair–pH & Hair

So far, we’ve discussed what healthy hair is and what three things are key in maintaining healthy hair – moisture, protein and pH. I’ve talked about the first two, moisture and protein and how to maintain the correct moisture/protein balance with regular wet testing. Today i’m continuing the ‘Getting To Know Your Hair’ series with a brief outline of what pH is and how it affects the health of our hair.

What is pH?

pH stands for ‘potential of hydrogen’ or ‘hydrogen strength’ and refers to the acidity or alkalinity of an aqueous (water based) solution relative to the concentration of hydrogen ions present. The level of pH is measured on a logarithmic scale of 0 – 14 with 0 being the most acidic and 14 being the most alkaline. In the middle we have pH 7 which is considered neutral as it has an equal balance of acidity and alkalinity. Water has a pH of 7 (hard water can measure pH 8!). pH 0 – 6.9 are acidic in nature and pH 7.1 – 14 are alkaline (base or caustic).

pH on a logarithmic scale is measured in multiples of 10 so every number on the scale is 10x more alkaline or acidic than the previous number. Example: pH 6 is 10x more acidic than pH 7, pH 5 is 10x more acidic than pH 6 and 100x (10×10) more acidic than pH 7. pH 8 is 10x more alkaline than pH 7 and pH 9 is 10x more alkaline than pH 8 and 100x (10×10) more alkaline than pH 7. It’s a little confusing i know, but it does help to know this (honestly).

What pH is Our Hair?

Our hair and skins pH measures between 4.0 – 5.5 so our hair is acidic in nature. In order to maintain optimal hair health we should try and keep our hair within this range.

How pH Affects Our Hair

pH greatly affects the way in which our hair looks, feels and behaves.


How Acidity Affects Our Hair

In it’s optimal pH range of 4.0 to 5.5 the cuticles of our hair lie flat against one another contributing to a smooth look and feel and allows light to bounce off well, giving our hair lovely shine or sheen. Closed cuticles protect the shaft from external damage and allows the strands to move around each other without causing damage. If we decrease the pH of our hair further, then the cuticles continue to tighten and tighten. Solutions or products with a pH lower than 3 will begin to corrode or eat away at the hair & scalp causing damage.

How Alkalinity Affects Our Hair

If we raise the pH of our hair above 5.5 the shaft begins to swell and the cuticles will begin to lift or open. Raised cuticles will allow more moisture into our hair but will also allow more moisture out. Lifted cuticles expose the hairs cortex and provides limited protection. Hair in this state is considered weak and susceptible to further damage. Lifted cuticles cause the hair to look dull and rough and each strand can tangle on the next causing more damage to the cuticle layer. The higher the pH the more our hair swells and our cuticles lift incurring more and more damage. Solutions or products with a pH of 10 or more will begin to dissolve the hair and scalp causing damage. Permanent hair dyes and relaxers are extremely alkaline (pH values between 10 and 13) and work by lifting the cuticles so the chemicals can deposit onto and alter the cortex/main structure of the hair.  Highly alkaline solutions weaken the disulfide bonds in the hair and can alter it’s structure permanently. 

Maintaining Healthy Hair With pH

Our goal here is to maintain the hairs optimal pH range of between 4.0 and 5.5 and thus keep it nice and healthy. All products containing water have a pH value and it’s important that our water based products such as shampoos, conditioners, leave-ins and moisturisers be within this range. Remember, water is 100 – 1000 times more alkaline than our hair so even a quick warm water rinse will cause the cuticles to lift slightly. If we dry our hair and apply oil or butter straight onto our hair after rinsing with warm water, the cuticles will remain open causing a slight feel of roughness and less sheen or shine. We should always try to restore or rebalance our hairs pH. It’s important, then, to use a water based, pH balanced (acidic) leave-in or moisturiser after washing our hair to bring the pH back down and close the cuticles before sealing with an oil or butter. A final rinse of diluted ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) also serves this purpose. Aloe Vera is also a great ingredient choice for hair moisturisers and spritzes as its pH value is around 4. This way we ensure our cuticles are closed, that moisture is retained well and our hair is stronger and less susceptible to damage.

The last post in this series will be on porosity and how it affects our hair, including how to correct any porosity issues.

Until next time!


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TKC: (ACV) Apple Cider Vinegar, Hibiscus & Honey Rinse Preserve

By Kelly

I don’t know about you, but I love my ACV rinse.  It leaves my hair feeling so soft and, well, the texture it should be.  The thing about ACV rinsing is that it takes care of what most commercial hair products don’t.

Nadia makes good points about ACV in her blog, but I will re-iterate for the cause…


What does pH mean to hair?

pH stands for potential hydrogen, or the acidity or alkalinity of a product. 7 is the neutral spot for pH but anything between 6.5 to 7.5 is considered to be a neutral range. Anything above 7 is alkaline and anything below 7 is acid.

Hair is on the mildly acidic side of the pH scale and has an ideal pH of 4.0 to 5.5, which is close to that of an apple cider vinegar rinse (pH 2.9.)

The surface of a strand of hair is covered with overlapping sheets, somewhat like the scales on a fish, or the shingles on a house. This surface is called the cuticle.


Alkaline solutions raise these scales, so they stand up. This makes the hair rougher, makes it look dull, and makes the hair shafts stick together due to the rough texture.  Many of the hair care products we use, such as soap-based shampoos, bleaches, hair colours, and permanents are strongly alkaline.

The shampoos that are made slightly acidic, keep the cuticle smooth and lying flat on the hair shaft. Ingredients like citric acid are added to acidify the shampoo.  However, to make a shampoo pH balanced manufacturers often put chemical acid called triethanolamine (TEA), which may be contaminated with nitrosamines that have been known to cause cancer.

Also, as shampoo mixes with the water in the shower or bath, or mixes with dirt on the hair, it can become less acidic as the acids mix with alkaline water or dirt. A compound (usually sodium citrate) that releases more acidifying ions when the acidity gets low, or absorbs acid when the acidity gets too high, is called a buffer.

The question is, how many acidifying ions in the shampoo will remain to release acidifying ions after applying and rinsing off conditioners and other treatments if the shampoo was only slightly acidic to being with?  Is shampooing with a slightly acidic shampoo enough for your hair?


How does ACV Help?

For the pH level of the hair to remain at or near 4.0, it’s best for it to be the last or near the last process to avoid dilution. For this reason, I use my ACV rinse AFTER all my shampoo and conditioning treatments.  Otherwise, adding ACV to your Leave-in conditioner, Deep Conditioner or Spritz is recommended.  Whatever you choose, you now know that the pH balance is an essential part of keeping your hair in good health

Rinsing with Apple Cider Vinegar will bring the pH level of your hair to approx. 4.0 which is just what the hair needs. Rinsing will close the numerous cuticle scales which cover and protect the surface of each hair shaft. This imparts a smoother surface which reflects more light and as a result leaves your hair shinier, smoother and easier to manage.



The ACV mix is made as a concentrate and stored in the fridge.  The honey contained serves as so it’s ok to keep for about 1 month. 




500ml Water

500ml Apple Cider Vinegar – contains more than 30 nutrients. From pectin to minerals like potassium, magnesium and calcium, apple cider vinegar is a rich natural source of vitamins. Its antiseptic properties arrests growth of harmful germs that cause myriad infections

5 Tbsp. Hibiscus (Sorrel to the West Indians) – Prevents hair loss, Enhances growth of hair, Discourages split ends, Thickens hair, Prevents premature greying of hair, Prevent dandruff, Gives a soapy quality to Shikakai.

3 Tbsp. Honey  – Serves as preservative which would enable the mixture to keep for about a month in the fridge.  It is also a humectant which naturally attracts and promotes retention of moisture.



1. Bring water to the boil and add Hibiscus.  Simmer for 20 mins.  Allow to cool.

2. Sieve out Hibiscus and add ACV and honey.

3. Pour into an airtight container and keep in fridge



When needed, pour out only 200ml and dilute with water up to 1 litre.


It takes the hassle out of my treatments.

As mentioned before, I prefer to pour over my hair when I have finished my other treatments and processes.  I pour over my hair, leave for 5 mins and rinse off.

I would then use my leave-in, seal and protective style as usual.


Did you try it?  Let me know how you get on…can’t wait..


Posted by on March 25, 2011 in Hair Care


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The Kitchen Cupboard by Kelly

Skincare:  Natural Works?

We can spend a huge amount time, effort and money trying to find the right set of products to address each and every skin care issue we have. We spend that much time and effort as no one product deals with every issue, so we need to spend our money on three or four products at a time.  Taking more time than you actually have in the store aisle reviewing and reading ingredients ‘..with peppermint oil..’ ‘..for sensitive skin..’ ‘…deep cleansing..’ How could you not buy a product with such gorgeous labels?  “This new one must work, the label looks too good!”  You walk to the checkout with one thing in mind..”I hope this one works”

The labels lead us to believe that the bottle of ‘moisturising cleanser with added avocado oil’ will be the next miracle worker, and it must work because the label looks expensive, like something that’s sold in a high end spa.  The price also leads you to think that they must have put really good ingredients into it this time.  But when you look at the ingredient list on most commercial skin care products, they present the same things till about 3/4 of the way down and then you will see that the magic ingredient, that has been promoted so beautifully and expertly on the front, makes up about 0.5% of the total product.

So what did you pay for?  Labelling?  Marketing?  0.5% of Avocado Oil?

Let’s look at one of the main ingredients used in skin care products:

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)

Both are commonly used in many soaps, shampoos, detergents, toothpastes and other products that we expect to “foam up”. Both chemicals are very effective foaming agents, chemically known as surfactants.

Unfortunately, both SLES and SLS are so very dangerous, highly irritating chemicals. Far from giving “healthy shining hair” and “beautiful skin”, soaps and shampoos containing SLES can lead to direct damage to the hair follicle, skin damage, permanent eye damage in children and even liver toxicity.

Although SLES is somewhat less irritating than SLS, it cannot be metabolised by the liver and its effects are therefore much longer-lasting. This not only means it stays in the body tissues for longer, but much more precious energy is used getting rid of it.

So if one of the first ingredients can do so much harm, and has been printed and included so blatantly in our products, how much care do we think has been given to the remaining products or even the two or three to follow? not including the 0.5% Avocado Oil.

So, what price are you prepared to pay to a) cleanse your skin? b) nourish your skin?  c) tone your skin? d) firm up your skin e) prevent and remove spots/ acne?

NATURALLY – No Small Print

Sure enough, the solution comes with four simple ingredients that do not come with side effects, high cost and ingredient lists as long as your arm.  Tried and tested, for me, they are nothing short of a miracle.

No hype, no talk-up, no marketing, just the facts.

Put them to the test and let me know how you get on.



  • Lemon is antiseptic. Bacteria grows on the skin, hence the need to cleanse thoroughly.  The body’s immune system suppresses the growth of bacteria, but when our immune system gets low, the skins pH will become unbalanced and the bacteria will grow.  This is why we end up with really ashy-type skin.  For this reason, we would need to help out the body’s immune system to neutralise the bacteria growing on the skin surface. (Have you noticed that your skin tends to be more ashy in the Autumn/ Winter months?  The same time that you’re likely to be feeling more run down or get a cold.  Your immune system is trying to tell you something.)
  • Lemon contains fatty acids that nourish the skin.
  • Lemon contains a tremendous amount of melanin which is the substance that gives skin and hair it’s colour.
  • Lemon contains astringent properties

Action: Will cleanse, nourish and restore complexion.

Directions for Use: Rub lemon on the skin.  You can use the peel and actually massage with much more force.  The key is to rub into the skin as much as possible.  It may take a few weeks to notice the benefits.  Remember, it take time to undo what has been done.

If you’re drinking the lemon first thing in mornings as Nadia’s previous posts suggest, you now have a use for the remaining lemon!




  • Blackstrap Molasses contains vitamins and minerals that are healing agents.  The nutrients contained will give the skin cells something to feed on and tone the skin
  • Blackstrap Molasses will work with wrinkles that are developing and will firm a sagging jaw.
  • Blackstrap Molasses will remove pimples and acne.
  • Blackstrap Molasses will cleanse the skin.

Action: Will cleanse, nourish, tone, address acne and restore complexion.

Directions for Use: Apply molasses on skin every day for two weeks and leave on all night.  Work the molasses into the face as you do this, it will lose it’s stickiness.  Keep working it in.  Make sure to cover the whole face. Keep on overnight.  In the morning, the best way to remove it is with olive oil on a piece of cloth.  Splash on some cool water and pat dry your face.  The cold water will tighten up the skin.

NOTE: Honey can be used in place of Blackstrap Molasses.




  • Bentonite Clay is a powerful clay and is one of the strongest clays.
  • Bentonite Clay works similarly to charcoal in that it can absorb many times it’s own weight, thus making it able to draw out impurities from the body.
  • We have a similar chemical composition to the clay found in the earth.  The only difference is that it is an inorganic form and we are made up of organic matter.  The body can still  convert the inorganic matter to organic so it will absorb the minerals in the clay and that will serve to replenish or revive the skin.
  • Bentonite Clay has a tremendous therapeutic effect and can bring back the pH balance.  It will remove a lot of the Uric Acid and Purine Acid out of the system.  We have learned previously, restoring the pH balance to skin will remove the ashy-type complexion.
  • Bentonite Clay is able to accelerate cellular growth, helping cells to perform more effectively and healthfully.
  • Bentonite clay will tighten up the skin, encourage the removal of wrinkles and sagging skin.

Action: Will replenish, tighten, restore and purify skin.

Direction for Use: Mix 1 cup of clay and enough Olive Oil to be creamy.  The olive oil makes it softer and smoother when applying to the skin.  Stir the mixture well.  You can leave it on for 15-20 minutes or let it dry.  It will tighten up the skin.




  • Witch Hazel is an astringent as lemon is. An astringent is a substance that causes contraction of tissues on application.
  • Simply, it is an agent that tightens everything up, firms and brings everything back to proper balance.

Action: Will firm the skin.

Direction for Use: Apply to the face with cotton wool and let dry.

NOTE: Distilled Witch Hazel is recommended.


As I mentioned before, I know it works.  I want you to try it and tell me about your results.  I can’t wait!…


Posted by on March 7, 2011 in Kelly


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Interesting pH Results

I just thought I’d show you these pH results that i found so interesting.

Whilst making the tea for my Leave-in conditioner i decided to test the pH of it. I used bottled water to make the tea as my filter is not working so well at the moment.

pH of Bottled Water the pH of this water was a 7

pH of Tea The pH of the tea measured a 4.5!


How is that possible? It’s the same water. Obviously the herbs have changed the pH to a more acidic range. Or was it the metal pot i used to boil it in? Not sure, but it’s very interesting nonetheless and that is probably why my leave-in conditioner showed a consistently low pH range, even without the citric acid.


Just thought i’d share that with you.


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Posted by on June 23, 2010 in Hair Care, pH Balance



Leave-In Conditioner – Take 2 (Updated)

I re-made my leave-in conditioner today as I needed to tweak the recipe a little. My notes on the last Leave-in were:


Conditioner is too strengthening (makes hair slightly hard if left ‘out’)
Has too much slip
Not creamy and thick enough
Not enough long term conditioning
Too much humectant (makes hair frizzy after a while)
To remedy this I will:

  • Reduce the amount of Hydrolysed Wheat Protein
  • Reduce the amount of Humectants (Glycerin and Honeyquat)
  • Reduce the amount of Panthenol
  • Reduce the amount of Guar Conditioning gum
  • Increase the amount of BTMS
  • Increase the amount of oils
  • Increase the amount of Lamesoft
  • Reduce Aloe Juice (as pH was consistently low)
  • Add in citric acid as a precautionary pH stabiliser
  • Increase Herbal Tea
  • Will not add extra Aloe Juice this time (even if it appears thick)

And that’s exactly what i did. I’m not going to repost all the information and directions as you can find that in the first post, but i did take pics of all the steps (I made sure i charged my camera battery). If anyone wants the adjusted recipe i can give it to them, otherwise it’s blah, blah isn’t it? lol.


Due to popular request, i have listed the updated recipe i made in this post below.

Ingredient                        Weight/g
Water Phase                  154
Aloe Juice                       61.2
Herbal Tea                       78
Guar Conditioning Gum     1  
Honeyquat                       1
Glycerin                           2
Lamesoft                          5
Citric Acid                       0.4
Silk Amino Acid Powder   0.4
Hydrolysed Wheat Protein 2
Panthenol                        3

Oil Phase                       40
BTMS                             12
Emulsifying Wax              4
Avocado Oil                     10
Coconut Oil                      4
Olive Oil                          10

Finishing Phase             6
Vitamin E                        2
Essential Oils                  2
MicroKill                          2

Total                             200


Tip – To find the percentage of each ingredient used, just divide the ingredient weight by two.

HerbsHerbs       IngredientsIngredients

EquipmentEquipment Pan Of WaterPan/Water

Herbs BoilingBoiling      Strained TeaStrained

Aloe JuiceAloe Juice HoneyquatHoneyquat

GlycerinGlycerin    Guar GumGuar Gum

Mixed G & GMixed        Aloe & GG MixMixed in Aloe

LamesoftLamesoft  Lamesoft MixedMixed in Aloe

First pH TestpH 4            Citric AcidCitric Acid

2nd pH TestpH 3 (oops)  Weighed BTMSBTMS

Avocado OilAvocado Oil Olive OilOlive Oil

I forgot to take a pic of the Coconut Oil

Melted Oil PhaseMelted  Tea in BlenderTea in Blender

Aloe Mix in Blenderadded Aloe Mix  Mixing Water phaseMixing Water Phase

All BlendedAdded oil phase   Final pH TestingpH 4 (ish)

Pouring into BottlePouring             FinishedFinished

I forgot to take a pic of the finishing phase (MicroKill, Vitamin E and Essential Oils) which i added to the blender once it was slightly cool.

The consistency is perfect. Just as i wanted it. Not so slippery, nice and thick and creamy. It seems the adjustments were dead on. Once i use it later i’ll give you the verdict.


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My Leave-In Conditioner Recipe & Instructions


I’ve finally taken the plunge and have created my own leave in Conditioner from scratch. My previous leave-in conditioner was a mix of store bought conditioner, herbal tea, oil and BTMS (a conditioning emulsifier). This time i wanted to make my own leave-in with no one else’s product in it. So i did my research on natural leave-in conditioners to see what ingredients they had in them. I put together a list of all the beneficial ingredients in all of them and used that to put together my own recipe. I found a very basic conditioner recipe online and used that as the basis of formulating my own. Once i had all the ingredients, formula and my trusty pH strips i got stuck in. I tried to take pictures at every stage but my camera died on me, which i had to quickly charge up again, so i missed out some of the steps. Sorry.

Here is my carefully put together recipe

Ingredients – Total weight 450g

Water Phase

Aloe Juice – 180g

Herbal Tea – 149.9g

Glycerin – 11.25g

Honeyquat – 9g

Lamesoft – 9g

Guar Conditioning Gum – 4.5g

Citric Acid – 4.5g

Silk Amino Acid Powder – 0.9g

Panthenol – 13.5g

Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein – 9g

Oil Phase

BTMS – 22.5g

Avocado Oil – 9g

Coconut Oil – 9g

Olive Oil – 4.5g

Finishing Phase

Vitamin E – 4.5g

Essential Oils – 4.5g

MicroKill – 4.5g

Herbal Tea Is Infused With –

  • Marshmallow Root
  • White Willow Bark
  • Blue Malva
  • Nettle
  • Chamomile
  • Hibiscus
  • Coltsfoot
  • Horsetail
  • Burdock Root
  • Rose Petals

These herbs combined are good for conditioning and detangling, naturally preventing dandruff, soothing scalp irritation, adding body, sheen and lustre, promoting healthy hair growth and preventing breakage and split ends. For more on herbs for hair check out Anita Grant’s Website.

Essential Oils –

  • Benzoin
  • Rosemary
  • Lavender
  • Geranium


My Equipment, minus the scale and cup. I put it all in the dishwasher to clean and sterilise.


The Ingredients, minus the herbs.


The Herbs


1. Start by making the herbal tea infusion. One tablespoon of each herb in a pan of boiling filtered water (about 500ml, as the herbs will absorb some). Bring back to simmering then take off heat and put a lid on. Leave to infuse till needed.

2. When ready strain out the tea through a muslin cloth or similar to remove all the bits of herb. Measure out the desired amount in a jug. Add that back into a clean pan and place that back on the heat to warm gently.

Herbal Tea Some of the tea

3. Measure out the Aloe Vera Juice into a jug

 Aloe Vera Juice

4. Add in the Honeyquat.

5. In a cup measure the Glycerine and Guar Conditioning Gum and mix together to form a paste

Glycerine & Guar

6. Add the Glycerine and Guar paste to the Aloe Juice and stir, stir, stir until it thickens well. It is suggested to stir it for 15 mins (but I didn’t, more like 3, I was going to blend it again anyway)

Aloe & Glycerine Mix Mix is all gloopy.


7. Measure the Lamesoft into the Aloe juice mix and stir some more

8. Measure pH of mix and if needed add in the Citric Acid*.

9. In a cup measure out the Hydrolysed Wheat Protein, Hydrolysed Silk Powder and Panthenol. Mix together and set aside.

10. In a bowl measure in your BTMS, Avocado, Coconut and Olive oils and place in the microwave or over a pan of boiling water to melt.

Oil Phase

11. Add the hot tea to the blender along with the Aloe mix and turn on. The mixture will thicken rapidly.

12. Whilst on, add in the Protein and Panthenol mix and keep blending

13. Once fully melted, drizzle the oil phase into the blender and keep blending until fully emulsified (be quick or it will set in the bowl, if this happens then re-melt). Switch off the blender and allow to cool slightly.

14. In a cup measure out the Vitamin E, Essential Oils and MicroKill, stir together

15. Turn on the blender again and add your finishing phase. Keep blending until fully incorporated.


16. Whilst still warm and easy to pour, transfer the conditioner into your container of choice. Leave the lid off until mix has cooled to room temperature.





* I measured the pH of the mix and it was at 4 so I didn’t add in the citric acid.

It filled one 500ml bottle and there was a little left over.


  • The conditioner ended up being really thick, so i added another 100g of Aloe Juice into the blender.
  • The consistency was a bit gummy
  • Next time i will reduce the amount of Guar conditioning gum from 1% to 0.5%. Hopefully this will solve the thickness and consistency issue.

The final pH of the conditioner was an acidic 4.5. NICE…


Where To Buy

I bought the BTMS, Lamesoft, Guar Conditioning Gum, Silk Protein, Hydrolysed Wheat Protein, Panthenol, Honeyquat, Citric Acid, Vitamin E and MicroKill from Of A Simple Nature

The Avocado Oil and Aloe Vera Juice are from Naturally Thinking

The herbs are from Luminescents and Woodland Herbs


Breakdown of Key Ingredients

Here is a list of the key ingredients in my recipe, the descriptions and how to use them.

BTMS (Behentrimonium Methosulphate (and) Cetearyl Alcohol)

Quaternary ammonium compound (Behentrimonium) blended with a fatty alcohol. Derived from Colza (rapeseed) oil. Contains 25% active quaternary conditioning agents.

A highly effective yet mild cationic self-emulsifying wax. Has outstanding conditioning properties. Substantive to skin and hair. Provides excellent wet hair comb-through and detangling. Confers reduced irritation potential. Leaves a soft, powdery after-feel. Thickening agent and stabilizer. Ideal for all skin types, including sensitive skin.

How To Use – 1-10%

BTMS is oil-soluble and should be added to the oil phase whilst it is being heated. Ensure that it is completely melted prior to combining both water and oil phases.

Recommend 3-5% plus 3% oils for a light lotion and 5-8% for a thicker cream formulation.

Lamesoft (Coco-Glucoside (and) Glyceryl Oleate)

Lamesoft is 100% plant-derived (Coco Glucoside from Coconut and the fatty acid Glyceryl Oleate from Sunflower Oil) and is gentle enough for use in baby care products.

Lamesoft is a mild, water-soluble emollient used to thicken liquid surfactant products such as shampoos, body washes and bubble baths.. It can also be incorporated into lotions, creams and conditioners.

It is also a lipid layer enhancer and thus replenishes the skins’ moisture barrier function.

It helps the hair retain its natural oils and moisture and assists with detangling.

How To Use – 0.5-5%

Add to the water phase and stir until dissolved. To achieve optimum thickness the pH should be adjusted to around 5

Guar Conditioning Gum – (Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride)

Guar conditioning gum is a water-soluble cationic powder derived from guar gum. It is substantive to the hair and has softening and conditioning benefits, without leaving build-up. It forms a protective barrier on the hair and helps control flyaway and frizzy hair. It also promotes shine to the hair.

It adds viscosity and stability to products such as gels and serums.

How To Use – 0.5-1%

Add to water at room temperature and stir well to agitate the water. Mix until dispersed. Adjust pH to 7.0 with citric acid, if required. Continue mixing for 15 minutes until full viscosity is reached. Guar may also be mixed with glycerine prior to incorporating into the water phase or into a water-based product.

Citric Acid

Citric acid is commonly used to make fizzing bath products such as bath bombs. Use in the ratio of 3 parts sodium bicarbonate to 1 part citric acid.

It can also be used to adjust product pH and for de-scaling.

How To Use

Add to water phase to adjust the pH as needed

Silk Amino Acid Powder

Produced by the hydrolysis of pure silk fibres. Silk amino acid powder contains 100% fibroin, which consists of eighteen amino acids and trace elements.

Silk amino acids are of low molecular weight, allowing them to penetrate deep into the skin and hair shaft. They have excellent water-binding properties and thus maintain moisture levels in the skin and hair. Silk amino acids help retain elasticity in the hair and impart a soft and smooth feel to the skin and hair.

Silk powder is water-soluble and is compatible with most ingredients, including surfactants. It can be used in lotions & creams, hair conditioners, surfactant-based products, toners, gels and dry formulations such as masks, scrubs and bath powders.

How To Use – 0.05 – 0.2% (0.2% recommended)

Add to the water phase and allow to dissolve completely prior to combining the oil and water phases. When using silk powder in cold-mix formulations, add to the water and allow to dissolve completely, mixing constantly, then add the other ingredients.


Panthenol (Pro-vitamin B5) penetrates deep into the skin and hair shaft and has excellent water-binding abilities. It creates a protective film, thus aiding moisture retention. It helps strengthen the hair shaft by imparting an elastic film inside and out. This also helps thicken the hair and leaves the hair (and skin) feeling soft and silky.

Panthenol 75% solution is water-based. It can be used in lotions & creams, hair conditioners, surfactant-based products, gels, toners and other water-based products.

How To Use – 5% (in hair care products and 2-3% in other)

When using Panthenol in lotions and creams, add to the water phase just before combining the water and oil phases – this retains its efficacy.

Hydrolysed Wheat Protein – 0.5-5%

Hydrolysed Wheat is a pure fraction obtained from natural wheat gluten. It consists of two oligosaccharides, gliadin and glutenin, both of which act synergistically to improve the condition of the skin and hair.

Gliadin exhibits excellent film forming properties and can absorb up to twice its weight of water. It is thus ideal for retaining water levels and thus moisturising the skin and hair.

Glutenin is highly elastic and helps strengthens the skin and hair.

When used in skin care products, the addition of Wheat Protein helps improve skin tone and moisturisation. With the addition of Wheat protein in hair care products, porosity of the hair is reduced, the hair feels smoother and softer and shine and lustre are improved.

How To Use

Add to the water phase just before combining the water and oil

MicroKill (Phenoxyethanol (and) Caprylyl Glycol (and) Chlorphenesin)

Broad spectrum Parabens-free and Formaldehyde-free preservation system. Active against Gram postive and Gram negative bacteria, yeasts and moulds.

– Phenoxyethanol is a widely used, versatile preservative

– Caprylyl Glycol provides synergy and has moisturising and wetting capabilities

- Chlorphenesin is a known broad spectrum preservative

Microkill COS is effective in difficult to preserve formulations, such as water/silicon emulsions. It is compatible in a wide range of skin, hair and suncare products. It has a well-documented safety profile. Stable in a wide pH range (3-8). Water insoluble. Can be integrated into the pre- or post-emulsion stage, at or below 60C.

How To Use – 0.75 – 1.5%

It is added to either the oil phase, just before both water and oil phases are combined, or preferably during the cool-down phase at or below 60C.

In cold-mix water-based products, blend Microkill COS with an equal amount of Polysorbate 20 or 80 then add the rest of ingredients.

We recommend that the optimum usage rate for Microkill COS is 1%. However, all personal care formulations will have different requirements.

Honeyquat (Hydroxypropyltrimonium Honey)

Honeyquat is a naturally derived quaternized conditioning agent made from honey, exhibiting excellent moisture binding capabilities, far more than that seen with glycerine.

It is substantive and, due to its low molecular weight, can easily penetrate the hair shaft to provide moisture to dry, dull hair. It also helps restore shine and lustre.

Honeyquat helps reduce static build-up and improves wet combing.

How To Use – 1-5%

Add to the water phase



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